Free agency offers the opportunity for teams to open their checkbooks in an effort to improve their rosters. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Phoenix isn’t exactly the biggest market or the best team and in recent years, the team has often had to overpay for free agents in order to lure them to the Suns.
In the time when the team was actually contending for either a championship or playoff spot, the Suns have often tried to add the “missing piece,” and many times that hasn’t worked out as well as expected.
5. Jalen Rose
This one is only fifth on this list simply because the team didn’t take much of a risk by signing Rose. The Suns signed the veteran wing to a one-year deal worth only $1.5 million. Considering Rose averaged a solid 12.3 points the season before, the signing made sense at the time despite his age.
However, the fast-paced style of the Phoenix offense of the mid-2000s was simply too much for the aging Rose, who was dealing with injuries. The former Most Improved Player winner only played 29 games in Phoenix where he played 8.5 minutes a contest and put up just 3.7 points per game.
4. Tyson Chandler
Chandler was an All-Star and league Defensive Player of the Year just a few seasons before he signed an expensive, five-year deal worth $52 million with Phoenix. The hope was that the seven-footer could bring a much-needed veteran inside presence to the Suns.
Looking at his three-plus years in Phoenix from a statistical perspective, Chandler faired quite well as a Sun as he still proved to be a great rebounder at his age and consistently shot over 60 percent from the field.
However, it was clear that Chandler was no longer the defensive presence he was with the Dallas Mavericks. Whether it due in part to the dysfunction of the Suns franchise, Chandler was constantly criticized by fans and media for his lack of effort and general willingness to be a part of a rebuilding team. Overall, it seemed like the Suns were paying a big chunk of money to an aging big man who seemed like he didn’t really want to be there.
3. Michael Beasley
The No. 2 pick of the 2008 NBA draft, Beasley was a mixed bag early in his career. However, Beasley put up a career-high 19.2 points per game in only his third season so Phoenix took a chance on him when he was a free agent one year later.
The Suns signed the 6-foot-9 forward to a three-year, $18 million deal. Unfortunately, Beasley’s Suns tenure was marred by inefficient scoring, inconsistent play and off-the-court issues.
During the 2013 season, Beasley shot a career-low 40.5 percent from the field and an abysmal 31.3 percent from deep. After just one year with the team, Beasley was arrested for suspicion of marijuana possession and was waived by the team.
2. Hakim Warrick
Warrick showed a lot of potential as possible star in his early days with the Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls. At 28 years old, Warrick was supposed to be in the prime of his career when he signed a four-year, $18 million deal with Phoenix in 2010.
Warrick was solid in his first season with the Suns but overall, he was not the productive role player that the Suns expected him to be and the team traded him just two years into his four-year deal.
1. Marcus Banks
A top-15 pick in 2003, Banks was coming off a career-year with the Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves where he put up 10.0 points and 3.8 assists per game. As a result, the Suns decided to scoop up Banks to serve as the backup point guard for Steve Nash.
Phoenix was confident in Banks’ potential as they handed him a five-year deal worth $21 million. Banks was unimpressive in his new role as he only played 11.8 minutes per game. In that playing time, the 6-foot-2 guard recorded only 5.0 points and 1.2 assists on an inefficient 42/32/79 shooting splits.